By Aaron Recuenco
The “new normal situation” under the continuous threat of the coronavirus is promising better days ahead in terms of peace and order in the country, the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) disclosed on Thursday.
PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said there was a 34.45 percent decrease in crime volume in the first 45 days of the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), or from March 17 to April 30, compared to the period of February 1 to March 16.
From 58,705 cases in the period February 1 to March 16, it was cut to 38,484 cases from March 17 to April 30.
“If this trend can be sustained under the new normal when the ECQ shall have been eventually downgraded, we can look forward to better days ahead with less crime and lesser fear of crime,” said Gamboa.
PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said the significant reduction was cases of Index Crime or serious crimes.
The Index Crime cases, according to Banac, are more accurate indicators of the crime situation that comprise the eight focus crimes of murder, homicide, physical injury, robbery, theft, carjacking, carnapping of motorcycle, and rape.
“It should be more interesting to note that carnapping, motor vehicles and motorcycles, registered the highest rates of decrease at 87.5 percent and 81.84 percent, respectively, while the perennially high incidents of robbery and theft dropped 64.16 percent and 67.89 percent, respectively, under the ECQ,” said Banac.
“The traditional crime landscape drastically shifted to violations of ECQ guidelines, which are mostly non-index crime cases, and digital crimes or the use of access devices and cyberspace to commit fraud, estafa, extortion, trafficking in persons, child abuse, and circulation of disinformation and fake news.”
Based on the PNP crime data, Non-Index Crime or less serious crimes comprise 91.92 percent of the Total Crime Volume, but despite the larger number, Non-Index Crime cases are not accurate indicators of the total prevailing crime situation, rather, it reflects the effectiveness of police operations in the enforcement of special laws, statutes, and local ordinances.
“In the PNP’s own assessment, this new crime trend under ECQ can be attributed primarily to the prevailing favorable environment that provide crime deterrence,” said Banac.
These are restricted movement of people, stay-at-home quarantine protocol, increased presence of law enforcement and force multipliers, liquor ban, and swift government response to the COVID-19 crisis.